Blue Cross Blue Shield Health & Wellness Experts shared with us that according to research from Cornell University, the holiday season is a time when individuals gain more than just cherished memories; they gain weight too.

The research included in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on a study where approximately 3,000 individuals in the United States, Germany and Japan were observed to calculate the average number of pounds a person gains during their respective holiday seasons. 

The study concluded that Americans gain an average of 1.3 pounds throughout the season, beginning in October and topping out four days into the New Year. Additionally, the extra weight sticks around for at least five months, if not longer.

“It’s about maintaining and not gaining throughout the holiday season,” said Kelly Hahl, Manager, Health and Wellness Programs, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “By finding ways to incorporate activity and lower calories dishes into celebrations, families can build healthy traditions together.”

According to Hahl, individuals can follow these simple steps to stay healthy throughout the holiday season:  

  • Plan time for exercise.  Moderate exercise can help offset increased calorie consumption. Make time for activity during your celebrations- a 30 minute game of flag football can burn upwards of 250 calories.
  • Eat before you celebrate. Before a party, eat a light, healthy snack such as vegetables or fruit to curb your appetite. You’ll be less tempted to over-indulge.
  • Bring a healthy dish to holiday gatherings. Preparing favorite dishes that are lower in calories will help promote healthy holiday eating, and may even become a staple at your table each year.
  • Take the focus off food. Conversation is calorie-free, move away from the buffet so you won't be tempted to snack while you catch up with friends and family.
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions, smaller plates can help. 

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